Breastfeeding Made Better

Expecting a new baby?  Congratulations! You have so many wonderful experiences ahead of you.  Some experiences, like breastfeeding, may be a little challenging at first, but there are a few things we can share to make the learning curve for both you and your little one a little easier and a whole lot better.

Start Immediately

Ideally, you’ll breastfeed your baby for the first time within an hour of giving birth.  It helps the uterus to contract and stimulates production of colostrum, which is what you’ll feed your little one for the first few days until your milk comes in.  It’s also a good idea to have your baby room with you in the hospital.

Get Comfortable

Instead of leaning down to your little one, use pillows and lift the baby up to your breast.  Tickle their lower lip with the nipple, lift the breast, and allow your baby to latch on. Your baby’s mouth should be wide open with the lips turned out.  Done properly, your infant’s mouth should close over as much of the areola, or colored part of your breast, as possible. You should notice deep, rhythmic suckling with the face and nose resting comfortably on the breast.  The line from head to toes is natural. You can hear your baby swallow regularly. There’s no need to rush; take your time and make certain both of you are comfortable. If you need help, ask right away. Nurses and lactation experts are available, both in the hospital and our office, to offer additional assistance.  Breastfeeding is a learned skill; don’t be too hard on yourself because it often takes a little while to feel comfortable with the process.

Slow Down

Pace takes on new meaning with a baby in the house.  Schedules are adjusted as you figure each other out. Feeding your baby isn’t a task to be finished; it’s time to be savored.  Slow down. It really won’t last very long and there’s time enough for everything else later. If you have a partner and you plan to pump, give them the opportunity to share in this bonding time as well.  It is a special, quiet time. Enjoy it. 

On Demand Feeding

On demand feeding allows your little one to set the pace.  Schedules will come later, but in the beginning it’s important to lay a strong foundation.  On demand feeding encourages babies to eat as needed. The result? Babies know that their needs will be met.  Expect to nurse between eight and twelve times each 24-hour period. How will you know when baby is hungry? Watch for hands-to-mouth, bright eyes and your little one “rooting around.” For the first four to six months, your baby’s diet will rely completely on your breast milk, and in no time at all you’ll be an expert at reading the signs.

A Good Meal’s Rest

Nursing is also the perfect time for you to rest and relax.  That comfortable position, coupled with round the clock feedings early on means that Mom could enjoy some extra rest.  Try and tailor nursing to benefit both of you. Practicing a little meditation with your little one’s breakfast, lunch or dinner will have you both feeling more relaxed.  Skip the multi-tasking and devote the time to yourself and your baby.

What if it doesn’t work?

Call us.  We’re mothers and fathers too, and we’re here with you every step of the way.  We also have certified lactation consultants on staff. If you’re having problems, the answer might be as simple as changing positions when you nurse, or you may need to supplement.   Ours is a long-term relationship, and we want the entire family to benefit. One of our biggest thrills is watching “our kids” grow up, and hopefully continue the family tradition.